No doubt many of you have seen Akira in anime
format, especially considering that it was recently re-released.
Much like the popular anime movie, the manga details the story
of a biker punk by the name of Tetsuo, who is taken under
military control when it is discovered that he is developing
immense mental powers. But, his former friend, Kaneda, who
befriends the young female operative Kei, clashes against
Tetsuo and the military forces as he tries to kill the person
who was once his ally and friend. Tetsuo's powers grow to
an immense scale as he seeks out Akira, a child prodigy or
immense power who has been cryogenically frozen to keep his
own powers from destroying Japan and possibly the world.
Artistically, the manga is illustrated with a realistic detail.
The characters all have style and posture all their own. Their
mannerisms fall in line with the way they are portrayed and
the story is visually told to a certain realistic (albeit
futuristic) flair. Cities are sharply drawn and in later events,
the magnitude of the disaster is deliver so well, that it's
easily grasped by the viewer. In fact, the whole design and
layout of the story is executed so well that very little is
left to confusion. Where in most manga, fast moving action
scenes are sometime a little too hectic to follow, everything
in Akira is placed and visually explained so that the reader
knows what's going on when it happens without multiple reads.
Even though a fairly large cast of characters exists, each
character is well defined (even the lesser side-characters
to a degree) in both visual appearance and emotional manner.
Everyone acts realistically, as if this was taking place in
a real world. There are no bold heroes rushing into battle
for noble reasons. Everyone has their reasons for their actions,
be it selfish or selfless. You can see the wounded ego of
Tetsuo build as his power grows and his selfish jealousy drives
The story itself is paced well and is full of twists and
surprises. Never does the telling of the tale ever seem weighted
down with too much "science speak" or philosophy. In fact,
the story moves at such a good pace that you might find it
hard to put the book down. Slow parts break up one action-packed
series of events, but only enough to give the reader a breath
of fresh air and an ever deeper sense of the character's personalities
Akira is easily one of the most essential manga that
every reader must at least read in their life. Viewing the
anime will only give you an incomplete Cliff Notes concept
of the whole story that is told with an intricate depth and
firm grasp of developing science fiction in a real world.